sail-world.com -- 420 World Championship - Italians dominate, Angolans debut on day 1
420 World Championship - Italians dominate, Angolans debut on day 1
Fri, 26 Jul 2013
On the opening day of the 420 World Championship, a light breeze of around seven knots greeted teams as racing got started under a clear blue sky and dazzling sun. By the time race 2 was underway, the wind had increased to around 10-12 knots.
The 110 teams in the 420 Open fleet have been seeded into yellow, blue and red fleets, with the 87 Ladies teams seeded into yellow and blue. Teams will be reseeded after each of the three qualification days, before advancing to the final gold, silver and bronze fleets for the Open and gold, silver for the Ladies.
In the 420 Open, reigning ISAF Youth Sailing World Champions, Tiago Brito/Andrei Kneipp from Brazil took a 2,1 in the blue fleet to sit on equal points at the top of the leaderboard with Italy’s Gianmaria Caiconti/Edoardo Portoraro who scored 1,2 in the yellow fleet. Early days, but a solid first day to put in the bag.
In third overall are the top placed Spanish Brothers Santiago and David Mas who scored a 3,2 and are on a mission to secure gold here. They finished in fourth at the 2012 420 Worlds, and with all three of last year’s 420 Open podium finishers having moved onto 470 sailing, the Mas brothers believe 2013 is their year. Their sister Silvia is competing in the 420 Ladies fleet, so as Santi explained it is a family affair, 'We all train together at the same club and in the same races. It is special.'
The brothers have been working hard towards the 420 Worlds, 'We have been sailing in Barcelona at weekends to train and went to Kiel to train for two weeks before Kieler Woche and finished second. So we have had some great preparations for the Championship. I would like to have lots of wind, but I think it will be on average 8-13 knots here with big waves. We are here to win – it is our objective. There are some really good sailors here and our biggest rivals will be some of the younger sailors who competed at the ISAF Youths,' Santi continued.
To be confronted with the largest and most competitive fleet of your racing career is quite daunting, and that was the prospect facing Manuel Nzuzi today, helm of one of the two Angolan 420 teams. Nzuzi has been sailing for eight years, six in an Optimist and for the past two years in a 420 and proud is most probably an understatement of how pleased he is to be at the 420 Worlds. 'I don’t have words to explain how happy I am to be here. Our goal is like following a stairs and an evolution and we are really enjoying learning and improving our skills.'
Nzuzi took the day’s racing in his stride, 'I made quite a few mistakes, so today was not such a good day, but I am going to learn from these and think how to improve tomorrow,' he said.
Carlotta Omari/Francesca Russo Cirillo of Italy were the team of the opening day, knocking out two race wins with what looked like relative ease in the blue fleet. 'I am very surprised to have two race wins and very happy. I didn’t think this would happen,' said Omari.
In race 1 the pair led from start to finish to take total control of the fleet. Onto race two and there was a bit of catching up to do, as Omari commented, 'We were about second at the first mark, and then were in third at the downwind mark. Then at the next upwind we moved up to first and held it to the finish. Our upwind speed is really good and where we can make gains.'
France’s Jennifer Poret/Lucie Scheiwiller put in the most consistent performance in the yellow fleet, taking a race win and a fifth place to end day 1 in second on the leaderboard. In third overall are Spain’s Paula Barceló/Margarita Alba who scored 3,4.
A regrettable error for one of Japan’s top 420 teams, Eri Fukazawa/Nagisa Mawatari, pushed them forward too early in race 1 to count a penalty OCS score. Their form was better revealed by a sixth place in race 2. The pair end day one in 52nd overall, but we can expect them to pop back up the leaderboard over the next two days and with the discard kicking in after race 5.
Making an early impact at the front of the yellow fleet in race 1 were Singapore’s Elisa Yukie Yokoyama/Jazlene Ong who finished in second, but a black flag penalty in race 2 tumbled them to 44th overall. The pair finished second at the Singapore National Championships earlier this year, behind team mates Kimberly Lim/Savannah Siew who are in 13th on the leaderboard. Lim/Siew just missed out on a podium finish at the 2012 420 Worlds by the narrowest of margins and are certainly amongst the favourites in the Ladies fleet.
It is just day one, but interesting so far to see Italian 420 teams representing fifty percent of the top 10 leaderboard.